Archive for the ‘Champions League’ Category


So there is a slight chance that England will pull out of the World Cup due to the current tension between the UK and Russia.

As is often the case when politics and sport meet there are rarely any winners.

Back in 1980 the United States, among others, boycotted the Moscow Olympic games. They then spent the whole fortnight pointing out how many medals they would have won had they been there. The boycott was in protest at the Russian invasion of Afghanistan earlier that year and achieved precisely nothing, a little like the invasion itself. (more…)



As is often the case when a team comes up against Lionel Messi, he wins. On Wednesday night it was a case of Lionel Messi, (with a little help from Ousmane Dembele who, in turn, received a little help from Lionel Messi), 3 Chelsea 0.

The scoreline was a little harsh on Conte’s team as they played quite well, just as they had at Stamford Bridge in the first leg. The problem is that, at this level, if chances are not taken by one side then they usually are by the other and, when Messi gets chances, he usually gets goals. (more…)


In a game where José Mourinho managed to outwit himself by starting Marouane Fellaini whilst leaving footballers like Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay on the bench, the first half crawled by.

United played like a team who were 4-0 up from the first leg, not a team who needed to score to get through!

Sevilla weren’t much better but at least knew that if they could score on the break then United would need two. The problem was that neither team appeared to realise that they needed to score! (more…)


At the time of writing England still has four representatives in the competition so the chances are reasonably good that one of them could win it. To an extent it depends on the draw for the quarter finals, particularly for Manchester City and Liverpool who are already through to that round.

Manchester United still have a potentially tricky second leg tie at home to Sevilla to overcome but should do so without major problems whilst Chelsea have the hardest task in that they need to either beat Barcelona in the Camp Nou or come away with a high scoring draw in order to progress. (more…)


Why does UEFA have such strange ideas? Is it because FIFA, the world body, also has strange ideas and it feels the need to keep up with them? And how come the two never seem to agree on anything?

FIFA has already stated that VAR will be used in this year’s World Cup, supposedly the biggest tournament on the planet. UEFA have decided that it isn’t at an acceptable standard yet for the Champion’s League. So it’s fine for the world, just not for Europe!

We have mentioned, in a recent article, how FIFA’s “best player in the world” often isn’t considered to be the “best player in Europe”.

The World Cup itself isn’t called the “World Champion’s League” yet it has a similar format to the European club version. (more…)



Ilkay Gündoğan – Man-of-the-Match and two goals to boot.

After emphatic away wins for Manchester City and Liverpool they are both, barring disasters of seismic proportions, through to the quarter finals of the Champion’s League.

Having beaten Basel 4-0 in Switzerland City fans will be thinking that there will be tougher tests ahead and they would be right in so thinking.

The only question raised by the performance of the Swiss team is how they managed to beat Manchester United and Liverpool in the recent past!

On this form, which has been pretty consistent all season, City need fear nobody and are certainly a match for the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Münich. (more…)


Guest Author: Mark Weasley of

When Chelsea won the league last season, they were at their brilliant best. Playing some breath-taking football and displaying an efficiency rarely seen in the division, they won the league courtesy of a 13-match winning sequence out of the 30 wins they recorded. They also reached 93 points, just 2 points behind the record haul of 95, set by Jose Mourinho’s swashbuckling side of 2004/05.

This season, however, has seen Chelsea struggle for form and consistency with their manager, Antonio Conte, coming in for criticism at the beginning of the season following a bad run. (more…)

FA Cup 1904

 (The nearest there was to an interactive wall-chart in 1904! The numbers on the colours correspond to the number of the team wearing them and there are some interesting names amongst the previous winners. The winners that year were…..Manchester City!)

The FA Cup may not be quite as glamorous as it used to be but it is still a trophy that the top clubs want to win.

An appearance at Wembley nowadays is no reward for reaching the final. After all, drawing Tottenham Hotspur away will have the same outcome this season, as will reaching the semi-final and it is this devaluation of the national stadium which has been a major contributor to the FA Cup losing much of it’s gloss. (more…)


Apart from all of the money which is thrown at him on a regular basis, is José Mourinho really getting the recognition he deserves for his achievements?

Leaving aside all his trophies, both domestic and in Europe, with his previous clubs. Leaving aside his transforming of struggling clubs such as Chelsea and Inter Milan, both of which he turned into title winners and leaving aside his record of being only the fifth manager to have won the title in four different countries, we sometimes wonder what he has to do to please some people. (more…)



Wednesday night went off with a bit of a whimper in the Champion’s League. Over in Azerbaijan, Chelsea did what was expected of them by comfortably beating Qarabag by four goals to nil.

This stroll in the park meant that Antonio Conte could spend the overnight flight home plotting Liverpool’s downfall in the weekend’s “big” game.

This exercise probably only required about five minutes as the tactics are relatively straightforward. Providing you can stop Liverpool scoring at your end, they will likely allow you to score some at their end!

So he had a good sleep for the rest of the flight dreaming, no doubt, of reaching the Champion’s League final and beating Juventus to collect the trophy. Dream on, Antonio! (more…)